Wendi Gardner, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University, joins the ranks at Psychological Science as associate editor. Regarding her experiences with the flagship APS journal, Gardner stated, “Psychological Science has always been one of my favorite journals, because it combines high quality research, breadth of topics, and brevity and readability of articles. I could always count on being able to open up the journal and read something genuinely interesting in my own area of specialization or in a different one.”
In summarizing her goals for the position, Gardner emphasized a history of accomplishment established long before her arrival. “My goal is simply to continue the improvement and expansion of the journal that my predecessors started,” she said. She also hopes that psychology’s multidisciplinary trend can spark a broader readership.
“As more and more psychologists bridge areas (e.g. the growth of social and cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, emotion and decision making, etc.), it is my hope that Psychological Science will continue to be seen as the place to send research that will be of interest to the field in general,” Gardner said. “In my area [social psychology], the emphasis in many of the top journals is often on publishing quite long papers, often with five or more studies presented in a single paper. This makes Psychological Science truly valuable – it’s an outlet for shorter articles in areas that present new and theoretically important findings.”
Gardner, who earned her PhD from Ohio State University, brings to the multidisciplinary team a specialization in social psychology. She currently researches two broad areas of interest: social versus individual presentations of self, and evaluative processing. Her research on the social self examines how important relationships or memberships in gender, ethnic, or social groups alter social cognition and behavior. She presently examines sociocultural aspects of self-construal as well as the use of priming to directly manipulate self-construal. Additionally, she has studied the need to belong and its effects on memory and affect.
In the realm of evaluative processes, she uses electrophysiological, implicit cognitive, and self-reports to examine unconscious and rudimentary levels of evaluation and emotion. Questions concerning the biological predisposition for positive or negative evaluative styles, and the distinction between positive and negative substrates and processes are also examined. She has concluded that positivity and negativity may not be mirror images or opposite ends of a spectrum, but functionally independent, involving different neural systems.
As a past associate editor of Social Cognition and also a member of the editorial boards for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and European Journal of Social Psychology, Gardner brings with her a motivation to help PS maintain its excellent standard. “I think the prior editors did a fantastic job of choosing articles that would be of interest to psychology researchers in general, and I’m very enthusiastic about continuing the growth and development of the journal as fostered by my predecessors. When [editor James Cutting] called me to talk about the journal, his enthusiasm for the direction Psychological Science was taking was absolutely infectious. I’m excited to be a part of this team.” t
This is the second in a series of profiles on the Psychological Science associate editors.